DESCRIPTION: Sage is an herb that is prized for its strong herbal aroma and unique earthy flavor that brings warmth and complexity to dishes. It has oval, dusty gray-green leaves with woody...
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DESCRIPTIONSage is an herb that is prized for its strong herbal aroma and unique earthy flavor that brings warmth and complexity to dishes. It has oval, dusty gray-green leaves with woody stems. Because of the fine, velveteen hair-like projections on sage leaves, they have a slightly fuzzy or fluffy appearance and cottony texture.

BOTANICAL NAME: Salvia officinalis 
OTHER NAMES: Common Sage, Culinary Sage
GROUP/CLASS: 
AVERAGE MATURE HEIGHT: 30 cm
AVERAGE MATURE SPREAD: 40 cm
SUN EXPOSURE: Full sun
FLOWER COLOUR: Lavender
FLOWERING TIME: Summer
FOLIAGE COLOUR: Grayish green
COLD HARDINESS: Annual
WATER NEEDS: Average
OTHER FEATURES: Edible, Deer Resistant, Attracts Hummingbirds & Butterflies

Edible Qualities

Sage is a perennial herb that is typically grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant narrow green leaves can be harvested at any time in the season. The leaves have a savory taste and a strong fragrance.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Cooking
  • Drying
  • Seasoning

Features & Attributes

Sage has masses of beautiful racemes of fragrant lavender pea-like flowers with purple streaks rising above the foliage from early to mid summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive fragrant narrow leaves remain green in colour throughout the season.

This is an herbaceous perennial herb with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition. This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Sage is suitable for the following landscape applications:

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Herb Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Sage will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 16 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 15 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 12 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 9 years.

This plant is quite ornamental as well as edible, and is as much at home in a landscape or flower garden as it is in a designated edibles garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. 

Sage is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers and foliage against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. 

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